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[Updated Friday, 10/26, To "Correct" Link] The Grand Bargain--President Obama Declares, "It Will Probably Be Messy. It Won't Be Pleasant."

Alexa's picture

Tweak Tweak
Tweak Tweak, Will the Lame Duck Congress of 2012 tweak on Social Security and Medicare? DonkeyHotey's photostream, Flickr

(The second link now correctly links to Editor Rick Green's piece. My apology for the duplicate links.)

If you thought things were bad, think again. They're about to get a lot worse.

Dateline: Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Phone interview with Editor and Publisher of the Des Moines Register newspaper. [Note: The day AFTER the third and final Presidential Debate.]

Topic: The Grand Bargain

Due to time constraints, I'm going to just provide a couple of links in lieu of commentary. Here they are: one to The Des Moines Register interview transcript, and this link to The Des Moines Register's Editor Rick Green's piece regarding Obama's refusal to provide a transcript.

I'm also pasting 'my Tweet' below, hoping that someone will be willing to retweet it. Both links also include a videotaped Romney interview with The Des Moines Register. (Apparently, President Obama declined The Register's request that their interview be videotaped.)

[BTW, this Twitter account was created and is intended to be used solely to tweet blogs and 'quick hits' from this blogging community. I'm not cluttering it up with following or followers, but it is set up so that it goes out to the 'public domain.' So, if I understand it correctly, it has the potential to reach many, many people. Bear in mind, I know little about blogging or Tweeting, so if DCBlogger, Lambert, or anyone else thinks that I'm terribly misguided, please don't hesitate to let me know. Thanks. Alexa]

H/T to Susie Madrak (Crooks and Liars) and The Mike Malloy Show, which is where I heard about this Editorial Board interview.

“If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson


twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Or is he just bored with killing people in Third World countries and wants to focus more on us here at home?

A few days ago, letsgetitdone looked at the thousands of American deaths that could have been avoided with Medicare for All. It's just obscene. And Obama is patting himself on the back for it.

Plus, all these austerity plans just reduce demand, and who's going to order more inventory, hire more workers, and build a new facility without demand?

This is really making me crazy. I have to move somewhere sane. If there is any place like that left.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I totally share your frustration. Truthfully, if you consider the basic structure of the ACA, I can't think of any explanation for it other than they hope to save money by whittling down the number of folks that will need health insurance. And delaying health care is the most expedient way to do it.

And as you also pointed out, the delay doesn't help the sagging economy, either. I try to be optimistic, but it's getting harder every day.

BTW, I just saw your post of the beautiful "lavendar" Autumn Crocus. Our "fall colors" are at their peak, and absolutely gorgeous. I think that's one reason that fall is my favorite season. I love flowers, but know the names of very few, so it'll be nice to pick up a some knowledge in this area.

Submitted by hipparchia on

in general, if you want to publicize anything via twitter, you do want to both follow people and have followers.

making your tweets public means that anybody CAN see them and anybody CAN retweet them, but it doesn't necessarily mean that anybody WILL see them or retweet them.

generally, when you follow people, they tend to follow you back, and this is how you get your tweets more widely seen throughout the twittersphere. if they like your tweets they retweet them and their followers see those retweets of your tweets. and then those followers will retweet to their followers who will retweet to their followers, etc.....

for the people i follow, i have a mix of people whom i genuinely like and admire [various folks in wisconsin, for instance] and radical far-right-wingers, many of whom i like but disagree with politically [because i can sometimes bait them into interacting with me, which means that my tweets might then show up their followers' twitter feeds].

as for the people who follow me, i am followed by lefties, rightwingers, and spammers. i generally block the most obvious of the spammers, but otherwise i'm happy to have people of all stripes follow me. bread upon the waters, and all that jazz.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Guess I'll "follow" several news and left writers (Matt Bai, Matt Stoller, etc.) as you suggested, and leave personal followers on our old "joint Twitter account."

Next time I post a "Tweet" here, I'll invite folks to follow (not call them "clutter." LOL!)

I don't deny that I'm ignorant of much of the "blogging, much less tweeting, protocal."

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's not protocol so much, more an evolution; providers of social media platforms - facebook, twitter, blogs, etc - are constantly tinkering with the tools and platforms, and users - like us - are constantly experimenting with those tools and platforms and the changes in them. and when the providers of social media see how the users are reacting to the changes, they then go and tinker some more.....

Submitted by jawbone on

Obama had originally demanded that his interview with the Des Moines be "off the record," but when the paper ran a blog commentary asking WHY the president would do such a thing the WH produced a transcript.

Might be nice to see if it matches the Register's tape -- if they made one? It is now fairly well known that candidates and Obama as president reserve the right to edit and clear up quotes....



AND, QUESTION -- Have his comments been covered by the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media)?

Here's what Google came up with. One day ago it hit the WaPo, for example.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

The only mainstream media I've heard mention Obama's interview, has been two radio programs carried on XM Radio: The Press Pool with Julie Mason, and The Diane Rehm Show,both out of Washington, D.C.

Regarding the following quote by Digby, that you linked to:

As Digby points out, this is the bargain Obama offered the Republicans the last time:

T]he major elements of a bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings achieved in part by raising the eligibility age. And $800 billion in new taxes.

I like Digby, but I'm not sure how accurate she is. I've always believed her to be a partisan (Democrat) from her interviews with Sam Seder. (That's just my takeaway.)

I consider Matt Bai's in depth reporting to be some of the best on this issue. Here's an excerpt from his piece entitled, "Obama vs Boehner -- Who Killed The Debt Deal?"

The Grand Bargain Within Reach

". . . And so the three-page counteroffer that Rob Nabors sent to Barry Jackson and Brett Loper that Tuesday night, which turned out to be the last set of numbers exchanged between the two sides, represents the most detailed picture yet of what a grand bargain might have looked like. It’s a remarkable snapshot of the moment, not for the points of contention it exposes, but rather because it illustrates how much agreement Obama and Boehner had actually managed to find."

"On entitlements too they had moved closer to a final deal. The White House agreed to cut at least $250 billion from Medicare in the next 10 years and another $800 billion in the decade after that, in part by raising the eligibility age. The administration had endorsed another $110 billion or so in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs, with $250 billion more in the second decade. And in a move certain to provoke rebellion in the Democratic ranks, Obama was willing to apply a new, less generous formula for calculating Social Security benefits, which would start in 2015. (The White House had rejected Boehner’s bid to raise the retirement age.) This wasn’t quite enough for Boehner, nor was it as extensive as what the Gang of Six had proposed. But the speaker’s team didn’t consider the differences to be insurmountable, assuming the two sides could also settle on a revenue number."

Here's the link to Bai's piece in the New York Times magazine section.

BTW, the policy suggestions that Romney makes in his recently released book are the same as the ones contained in the Bowles-Simpson proposal (which Obama endorses). Just some 'food for thought.'

Thanks again for taking time to furnish so many links.

Submitted by lambert on

In the daily-except-Sunday Campaign Countdown post I cover the Grand Bargain stuff regularly (including the latest outrage from Obama in the Des Moines Register, IIRC). That one got him WaPo endorsement...

It's part of the on-going and successful effort to turn the United States into a second world petro-state, which is why it connects to both fracking and the police state topics.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Grand Bargain was a "regular" part of your Mission Elapsed Time . . . series. I will make sure that I check it out, regularly.

I don't seem to have the time to sit long enough to write a really comprehensive blog on Social Security reform, hence the short blurbs that I've posted lately.

I'm curious if you've read the Matt Bai piece, "Obama vs Boehner: Who Killed The Debt Deal?" I ask because I appear to read it differently than Digby (and maybe the WaPo), in that I believe that Obama "bargained away" progressive price indexing last July. MSM reporting is either sloppy, or intentionally deceitful.

I say this because everyone in D.C. (the Washington Consensus, ya know) says that the CPI-Index is "low hanging fruit"--a done deal, IOW. Period. End of story.

So, my reading is that Obama agreed to "means testing," which of course changes the formula (bend points) for calculating monthly Social Security benefits. It's the only thing that makes sense, because if they were actually reporting that Obama agreed to a change in the CPI-Index, it would have to be reported that Obama agreed to "a different formula for figuring the CPI-Index, which would lower the COLA increases for all the federal transfer programs."

And it is NEVER reported that way.

And I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that Bowles-Simpson recommends "3" major cuts to Social Security: (1) CPI-Index "adjustment" (2) Raising the "eligibility age" for both full and partial--or early--benefits, and (3) "means testing." I don't believe for one second that the R's would cut a deal to raise taxes for the "least of the three cuts.

Here's a video of conservative Dem James Clyburn (at minute 3:40) stating to an interviewer in 2010 that he supports "means testing." Hoyer, Tim Ryan (OH), etc., are on record saying the same thing.

What do you think?